One year after the rise of the toughest property reinsurance market seen in a generation, conditions have improved markedly, with adequate capacity, more consistency on wording and structures, and smoother renewals, according to several reinsurance broking firms.
Reinsurance capacity managed to keep pace with demand on Jan. 1, 2024, per recent reports from Guy Carpenter, Gallagher Re and Howden.
“Only 12 months ago, property catastrophe reinsurance was considered an unpredictable and volatile class warranting reduced capacity and changes in coverage, attachment and pricing,” said Tom Wakefield, CEO of Gallagher Re, in the broker’s “1st View” report. “This year, property supply and demand has snapped back into balance, with returns for the first three quarters of 2023 exceeding reinsurers’ increased cost of capital.”
Primary insurers were able to secure more coverage for their property tail risk in this renewal season. This trend should continue through the rest of the year’s reinsurance renewals, according to Gallagher Re’s report. Gallagher Re attributed some of the improvement to a few large wind events in the U.S. However, insured losses due to natural catastrophes still exceeded $100 billion in 2023, and, in the U.S., reinsurers “adjusted their view” of severe convective storm (SCS) frequency with some added pressure on price as a result.
In its recap of the Jan. 1 renewals, Guy Carpenter noted that some clients in specific geographical regions still “faced challenges.” Reinsurers also pressed more for price increases on lower program layers, while deploying capacity more freely for loss-free segments and layers. The reinsurance broker cited a pricing range of flat to single-digit increases for non-loss impacted programs and 10% to 30% for programs with losses—though there was a “wide range of outcomes” around the averages.
“The January 1 market reflected more balanced trading conditions providing cedents improved opportunities to achieve their objectives while maintaining key reinsurer relationships,” said Dean Klisura, president and CEO of Guy Carpenter, in a statement. “Technical discussions were essential to reinsurers’ increasing appetite and capacity allocations.”
According to Howden’s reinsurance broking team, expanded capacity from traditional carriers, as well as new capital flowing into the catastrophe bond market, helped to improve conditions on Jan. 1.
“Reinsurers’ plans were better telegraphed in the lead up to 1 January 2024, meaning the tensions and dislocations that characterized last year’s renewal were far less acute,” Howden said in an outlook report titled “A New World.” The broker added, “Pricing was stable overall, with any significant variation by territory or line of business informed by loss experience.
However, Howden also suggested that several specialty lines faced some reinsurance pressure due to geopolitical risks and ongoing conflicts, particularly aviation, political violence, and terrorism. Reinsurers also showed a limited appetite for nonnatural perils, especially strike, riot, and civil commotion cover, the broker said. Howden reported a 3% increase in rates-online for property catastrophe reinsurance compared to +37% last year.
One year after the rise of the toughest property reinsurance market seen in a generation, conditions have improved markedly, with adequate capacity, more consistency on wording and structures, and smoother renewals, according to several reinsurance broking firms.
A Guaranty Fund protects consumers in the case of a failed insurance company. When a policyholder incurs a covered loss under an insolvent carrier’s policy, the loss will be covered by the Guaranty Fund. Just as with All Things Insurance, there are limitations and an exception to the coverage.
The exception is that policies issued by non-admitted insolvent carriers are not eligible for the Fund. This is why it is so important to check the AM Best rating (financial size and strength) of any surplus lines carrier before binding coverage. If an agent becomes aware of a negative change in that rating during a policy term, it may be prudent to replace the coverage.
One limitation to coverage is determined by the policy itself. If a building has a limit of $150,000, that limit still applies. Another limitation is determined by individual state laws, which determine the maximum limit that a policyholder may collect. Most states have a cap of $300,000 on P&C claims, although there is generally no cap on Workers Compensation claims. One can readily imagine claims exceeding $300,000, reminding us again of the importance of knowing an insurer’s financial strength.
Claimants and policyholders are usually first to be paid, before the insurer’s other creditors. Policyholders with a claim greater than the statutory limit can apply for full payment. This places the claim in line with other creditors, which can take years for distribution, if it ever occurs.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) passed model legislation in 1969. Each state, plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC, has a Guaranty Fund. The statutory limit in the model act was set at $300,000. The Funds have paid out more than $35 billion resulting from around 600 insolvencies.
Each state determines the means of providing capital for claims and administrative costs. Most states levy assessment against admitted insurers, typically 1-2% of net direct written premium. Capital for payment of claims also comes from the insolvent insurer’s assets, including reinsurance.
How often does a carrier lose solvency? In the last 20 years, typically 10-15 carriers enter receivership each year. United Home Insurance entered receivership last month. It’s not common, but it’s not rare either, so agents must be mindful.
For more information, go to National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds.
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Many people believe that when water freezes in a pipe, the ice expands, pushing against the walls of the pipe causing a pipe to burst. In reality, this is not the case. Freezing water pipes do not burst directly from the physical pressure of ice growth, but from excessive water pressure. The fact that water is freezing within a pipe does not, by itself, endanger the pipe. Usually, the pipe bursts where there is little or no ice formation. When a pipe outlet is still open, ice growth exerts no pressure on the pipe because the volumetric expansion is absorbed by the entire water system. A pipe that is open on one end cannot be pressurized and will not burst.
Water has to freeze for ice blockages to occur. Pipes inside a building should be protected by placement within the building’s insulation, insulation on the pipe itself, or by heating. Vulnerable pipes that are exposed to subfreezing temperatures should be fitted with insulation sleeves and wrapping. The more the pipe is insulated, the better the protection.
It should be noted that a burst water pipe does not necessarily result in the immediate flooding of a building. A rupture may be initially sealed by the ice blockage. A flooding condition will occur when the ice blockage thaws out and the burst location is under flow conditions.
Pipes typically burst at locations where freezing last occurs. Thus, an insulated portion of an otherwise poorly insulated pipe is likely to be the place where the pipe breaks.
When water freezes, it expands. While the expansion of water as it freezes is the underlying cause of a pipe bursting, the actual deformation or breakage of the pipe results from a secondary consequence of the expansion – namely, hydraulic pressure in that part of the water last to freeze.
To demonstrate this event, take a water-filled metal bucket and set it on a block of Styrofoam and let it freeze. What results is that the bucket will have a bulge at the bottom. This phenomenon is due to the hydraulic pressure in the last water to freeze, in this case, at the bottom of the bucket. Yet, if the Styrofoam is placed on the top of the bucket, no bulging occurs because the last water to freeze is near the top surface where there is no metal to be bent.
If you wrap insulation around short sections of an otherwise exposed pipe filled with water, the pipe will burst under the insulation and the water will leak into the insulation, proving that liquid water was still present at the time of the breakage.
As the last of the water freezes in the pipe, the increasing hydraulic pressure causes the melting point of the confined ice to decrease. By the time the pressure rises to 8,000 psi (551.6 bar), the melting point will be lowered to almost 23°F (-5°C). If that pressure is not enough to break the pipe, at -6°F (-21°C), the pressure will build to 28,000 psi (1,931.0 bar).
Commonly used water pipes in construction are made of copper, black iron, or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Plastic pipes have both thicker walls and greater resistance to heat flow. Copper pipes in turn have virtually no resistance to heat flow. However, only in marginal cases would the added thermal resistance of plastic pipes prevent annular ice blockage in comparison to copper pipes.
The determination of the pipe diameter in a plumbing system is based on necessary service demands and flow requirements. For these reasons, an attempt to reduce burst pipe incidents through the specification of different pipe diameters is of very little value.
Another common thought is that, when subjected to identical conditions, a hot-water pipe will burst before a cold-water pipe. A definitive, widely accepted explanation has yet to be given. One theory holds that premature bursting is a result of greater dendritic ice formation in hot-water pipes as compared to cold-water pipes. However, when water pipes begin to cool toward identical temperatures, it makes no difference if the water was drawn from a cold- or hot-water source because the freezing process is identical. Usually, the difference between the freezing of a cold-water pipe and a hot-water pipe (both being of the same material and diameter) is approximately ten minutes. If hot-water pipes tend to burst before cold-water pipes, it is not due to the water’s response to the subfreezing temperature; more likely, it is due to the distribution of entrapped air in water systems because of the water heating process when temperatures rise and pressure increases.
The temperatures that water pipes are exposed to in a building is a function of the outside temperature, the interior building temperature, the building insulation near the pipe, and the pipe’s placement in a building cavity.
Pipes in attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold, outside air to flow across the pipes. “Wind chill,” the cooling effect of air and wind, can play a major role in accelerating freezing and bursting of water pipes. Holes or openings in an outside wall where cables, television wires, or telephone lines enter provide access for cold air.
Although 20°F (-6.7°C) is well below the freezing temperature of water, the temperature of an unheated portion of a building is almost always at least a few degrees above the outdoor temperature.
There are several precautions building owners should take when the temperature is expected to dip around 20°F (-6.7°C), including:
- Seal all openings where cold air can get at unprotected water pipes. It is especially important to keep cold wind away from pipes, which speeds up the freezing process.
- Cover pipes with foam sleeves or fiberglass insulation, a minimum of 2 in (5.08 cm), the thicker the better.
- Remove and store exterior hoses inside during cold weather.
- Leave interior doors open to allow warmer room air to circulate.
- Let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice might still form in the pipes, but an open faucet allows water to escape before the pressure builds to where a pipe can burst. If the dripping stops, it may mean that ice is blocking the pipe; keeping the faucet open will provide pressure relief in the pipe.
- Protect pipes in attics and crawl spaces with insulation or heat. Pipe insulation is available in fiberglass or foam sleeves.
- Close the main water shutoff value and leave open the various outlets. This will drain most of the water out of the system, introduce large quantities of air, and eliminate the possibility of bursting pipes during severe overnight temperatures.
- Use heating cables and tapes, which are effective for freeze protection. Select a high-quality heating cable with heavy wire insulation that is listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc, and which has a built-in thermostat that turns the heat on when needed (without a thermostat, the cable has to be plugged in each time and might be forgotten). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely during installation. Heat tapes and cables will not work during power outages.
- Loss Prevention Strategies
There are four basic strategies for preventing burst water pipes:
- Pipe Placement
- Pipe Insulation
- Air Chambers
- Install pressure-relief plumbing fixtures to provide protection
Pipe placement prevents water pipes from ever encountering freezing temperatures through placement in the conditioned space of a building. Placement is meant to include the avoidance of air leakage through the building. This strategy is designed to prevent water pipes from encountering subfreezing temperatures and any potential for freezing and subsequent bursting.
Pipe insulation provides sufficient pipe insulation to reduce heat loss to the point where freezing cannot occur. This strategy is designed to prevent or substantially delay the formation of an ice blockage and, in so doing, prevent the excessive pressures that lead to bursting.
Air chambers are presently manufactured as “water hammer arrestors.” These devices are intended to address the problem of water hammer, which is the pressure-induced knocking of water pipes. Testing of these devices is designed to evaluate their endurance during numerous, momentary pressure surges. For burst protection, it would be necessary to determine the viability of these products under sustained pressure of 12 to 24 hours as compared with numerous pressure surges. It is possible that existing designs can meet the requirements for burst protection devices.
The use of air chambers on water pipes that run through unconditioned spaces could greatly reduce the incidence of burst water pipes. Economical air chambers that could be easily retrofitted to existing plumbing systems would be beneficial in addressing the existing risk exposure.
Where both subfreezing temperatures and ice blockage may occur, air chambers could be installed to moderate the excessive pressures required for bursting. This strategy allows total freezing and the temporary loss of water service but can help prevent losses by relieving the pressure that leads to bursting.
Pressure-Relief Plumbing Fixtures
Pressure-relief plumbing fixtures, as with air chambers, accept the completion of an ice blockage, but provides pressure relief. Rather than providing a chamber of air, pressure-relief-plumbing fixtures would discharge water from the line at a specified pressure well below the burst pressure of the line. Discharge would be through a fixture into the existing drain basin, for example, the sink or bathtub.
Widespread adaptation of pressure-relief plumbing fixtures could virtually eliminate the burst water pipes at marginally additional cost. They would require no maintenance and no more labor than to install a standard fixture.
Responding to Frozen Pipes
If a frozen pipe (open faucet, no water comes out) is suspected, a qualified plumber should be called. If a pipe bursts, the main valve should be shut off and the faucets left open until repairs are complete. Thawing a frozen pipe with an open flame or hair dryer should never be attempted.
- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc (ASHRAE). Fundamentals Handbook. Atlanta, GA: ASHRAE, 1993.
- Insurance Institute Property Loss Reduction. An Investigation into Freezing and Bursting Water Pipes in Residential Construction. Research Report No. 96-1. Boston, MA: IIPLR, 1996.
- Zarling, J., R. Williams, and J. Rajesh. Experiment and Analysis of Pipe Freezing. Fourth International Symposium, US Army Corps of Engineers No. 87-95. Washington, DC: USACE, 1993.
Includes copyrighted material from ISO Services, Inc. with permission.
This information is provided solely as an insurance risk management tool. It is provided with the understanding that the member insurance companies of the Utica National Insurance Group are not providing legal advice, or any other professional services or advice. Utica National shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of this information. You are encouraged to consult an attorney or other professional for advice on these issues.
Fires can devastate small businesses, causing property damage, loss of
inventory, disruptions in operations and even endangering the lives of
customers and employees. However, many of these fires can be prevented
through proactive measures. To prevent fires and ensure the safety of
employees and customers, small business owners should consider the following
- Conduct a fire risk assessment. To prevent fires in the business, identify
potential hazards like faulty wiring, flammable materials and
malfunctioning equipment. Then, create a tailored fire prevention plan
to address them and keep employees and property safe.
- Install adequate fire detection. Invest in a reliable fire detection system
for the business to guarantee its safety and protection. This system
should consist of strategically placed smoke detectors, heat detectors
and fire alarms on the business premises. Additionally, conduct regular
maintenance on these systems to ensure proper functioning during an
- Educate and train employees. Regular fire safety training sessions are crucial to maintain a safe work environment. Employees should understand how to operate fire extinguishers, evacuate safely and understand fire safety protocols. Assigned fire safety wardens can help guide evacuations and oversee drills.
- Maintain electrical systems. Faulty wiring and electrical systems are a common cause of fires in small businesses. It is important to regularly inspect and maintain electrical systems to identify and rectify potential hazards. Make sure that all appliances, cords and outlets are in good working condition. Extension cords should only be used temporarily; if needed long term, outlets should be installed.
- Control flammable materials. Store flammable materials and chemicals in designated areas that are away from potential ignition sources. Make sure these areas have proper ventilation and fire-resistant containers.
- Use fire-resistant building materials. When designing or renovating business premises, consider using fire-resistant materials to slow the spread of flames and buy more time to evacuate.
- Install fire suppression systems. Sprinklers or extinguishing systems installed in high-risk areas can help prevent small fires from escalating. Alternatively, if a suppression system is not available, place fire extinguishers throughout the building.
- Create an evacuation plan. A clear evacuation plan with marked exit routes, meeting places and authority hierarchy is essential. Regular fire drills can help ensure everyone knows what to do during a fire.
- Store and dispose of waste materials safely. Waste containers should be kept at a safe distance from buildings and clear protocols for waste management should be implemented.
- Establish clear smoking policies. If smoking is allowed on the premises, it’s important to create designated smoking areas away from flammable materials and buildings. The enforcement of strict smoking policies can help reduce the risk of fires caused by discarded cigarette butts.
- Monitor and control heat sources. Be vigilant with heating sources, especially during colder months, and implement strict guidelines for use. Ensure that space heaters, furnaces and stoves are well-maintained and positioned away from flammable materials.
Preventing fires in a small business requires a proactive and comprehensive
approach. This can be achieved by conducting risk assessments, installing
adequate detection systems and educating employees about safety protocols.
By taking these measures, small business owners can significantly reduce the
risk of fires and ensure the safety of their business, employees and customers.
For more insights and guidance on small business risk management, please
contact us today
Increasing auto insurance premiums have been troubling for policyholders and their wallets. Ac- cording to statistics released in May 2023 by the U.S. Department of Įabor, auto insurance premiums increased 17.1% in the previous 12 months. Although the cost of insurance may change each year for various reasons, this infographic can help shed light on current market factors influencing policies across the country right now:
- Vehicle inventory—While the availability of new cars has rebounded since the COVID-19 pandemic, inventory levels overall are still below average, and prices for used vehicles remain relatively high. As cars remain more costly, insuring them may be more expensive.
- Higher repair costs—Inflation, supply chain issues lingering from the pandemic, high de- mand at auto shops and a car technician la- bor shortage have contributed to increased repair costs and the related price of auto insurance claims.
- Rising medical bills—As health care costs have risen, auto insurance companies must pay more for medical services from MedPay and personal injury protection (PIP) cov- erage. Consequently, premiums have also increased.
- Increased claims—Car accidents and thefts have become more common in recent years, leading to more claims being filed against auto policies. As the number of claims rises, so too does the cost of insuring against them.
In response to rising auto insurance premiums, policyholders should consider the following ways to save on their rates:
- Stay safe.
Avoid blemishes on your driving record by practicing safe habits behind the wheel.
- Tafie courses.
Completing driving safety courses may unlock discounted premiums.
- Bundle coverage.
Purchasing multiple types of coverage from the same insurer may reduce overall costs.
- Maintain good credit.
High credit card balances, late payments and other negative effects on a policyholder’s credit score may lead to higher premiums.
- Reconsider policy details.
Adjusting your coverage, such as increasing your deductible, may help limit premiums.
- Drive less. Insurers may consider how far a policyholder drives annually. By reducing mileage and reporting accordingly, costs may be decreased.
Even among increased rates, auto insurance remains a critical loss control measure for U.S. motor- ists. Insufficient coverage could lead to legal noncompliance penalties and, in the event of an acci- dent, catastrophic out-of-pocket costs.
Contact us today to learn more about potential auto insurance discounts and other ways to save on your premiums.
Whether you are liable if a trick-or-treater falls on your property and the insurance coverage that may apply can vary depending on several factors, including the circumstances of the fall and your homeowner’s insurance policy. Here are some key points to consider:
Premises Liability: Homeowners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property if they are found to be negligent in maintaining a safe environment. This is known as premises liability. If a trick-or-treater falls on your property due to a hazard that you were aware of or should have been aware of and failed to address, you may be held responsible for their injuries.
Trespassing vs. Invited Guests: The legal status of the person on your property is important. If a trick-or-treater is on your property with your consent (i.e., you are actively participating in trick-or-treating and have welcomed them onto your property), you may have a greater duty to ensure their safety. However, if someone is on your property without your permission, the level of responsibility may be different.
Homeowner’s Insurance: Most homeowner’s insurance policies include liability coverage that can help protect you in situations where someone is injured on your property. This coverage may extend to injuries that occur on Halloween if they are the result of negligence on your part.
Insurance Policy Limits: It’s crucial to check the limits of liability coverage in your homeowner’s insurance policy. The policy will have a maximum amount it will pay for injuries or damages resulting from a liability claim. If the claim exceeds this limit, you may be personally responsible for the additional costs.
Reporting Incidents: If an accident or fall occurs on your property, it’s essential to report it to your insurance company promptly. They can advise you on how to proceed and may provide legal representation if necessary.
Prevention: To minimize the risk of injuries on your property, take preventive measures. Ensure your walkways are well-lit, clear of obstacles, and in good repair. Address any hazards, such as loose steps or uneven pavement, before Halloween. Being proactive about safety can help reduce the likelihood of accidents.
In summary, your liability and insurance coverage regarding a trick-or-treater’s fall on your property depend on the specific circumstances, your homeowner’s insurance policy, and whether negligence on your part is a contributing factor. It’s advisable to consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and responsibilities and to take precautions to maintain a safe environment on Halloween and throughout the year. To review your homeowners insurance policy and prepare for those trick-or-treaters, contact Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency in Northbrook, Illinois. You can reach us by phone at (847) 480-0800 or online at https://www.basslerins.com/.
Whether it’s raining, hailing, or windy outside, your roof takes the brunt of all the harsh elements. However, if your roof has been neglected and isn’t in tip-top shape when bad weather hits, then you could be putting your home at risk for leaks or other potential severe damage. If your roof is old, faulty, or on its last leg, your home may be categorized as high risk. This also means you may be paying a higher premium for your policy. Here, we’ll review what’s typically covered for roof damages and why a new roof could decrease your homeowners insurance.
Keeping your roof well-maintained is a general best practice to avoid extensive repairs or premature replacements of your roof. Typically, insurance policies may cover the following roof damages:
- Fallen objects
Some insurance companies will provide discounts to homeowners after they’ve installed a new roof. An asphalt shingle roof that’s 15 years old is more prone to leaks simply due to the fact that it’s near the end of its lifespan and has taken the brunt of 15 years of weather. For this reason, older roofs can be categorized as high-risk since homeowners are more likely to file a claim for damage, which results in a higher insurance premium.
On the other hand, a newer roof is less likely to be susceptible to weather damage simply due to the fact that it’s new. Different states and different insurance companies have their own discounts for new roofs, so you’ll want to consult with your insurance agent to determine how much of a discount you can receive as each insurance company has their own set of requirements for what qualifies for a new-roof discount.
Getting homeowners insurance will allow you to protect your home in the case of unexpected damages during storms or inclement weather. However, the price of protection can be hefty if you have an older roof. Some insurance companies will offer discounts for new roofs simply because it’s a new roof that hasn’t taken the brunt of ever-changing weather. In addition, some insurance companies will offer discounts for impact-resistant roofs. Fortunately, new technological advances in the roofing industry have allowed manufacturers to develop roofs that can withstand high winds, are resistant to moisture-related growth, and are resistant to impact from falling tree branches. Contact Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency in Northbrook, IL to see how your homeowners insurance policy is affected if you decide it’s time to get a new roof. You can reach us by phone at (847) 480-0800 or online at https://www.basslerins.com/.
Many people wonder if single people need life insurance.
It’s easy to believe the answer is “no.” After all, the main purpose of life insurance is to provide cash to your family if you were to pass away. So, it seems logical to think you don’t need life insurance if a spouse or kids aren’t depending on your earnings.
However, there are definite times when single people need life insurance. Here are some of the most common reasons to consider life insurance if you’re flying solo.
7 Reasons Why Single People Need Life Insurance
You have debt.
Not saddling others with debt is a major reason why single people need life insurance. This is typically the case when there’s a cosigner on your loan or when you share a mortgage with a friend, relative or someone else.
Private student loans can be especially burdensome to your cosigners. That’s because unlike federal loans, they aren’t discharged when you die. This could leave a cosigner like a parent on the hook for many thousands of dollars. Shared mortgages could also leave your fellow borrower in the same predicament.
An easy and affordable solution if you have debt like this is to get term life insurance. It will step in and pay off your portion of the loan if you were to pass away prematurely.
You have people who depend on you.
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean people don’t depend on you. Perhaps you’re a single parent with young children. Or you have aging parents or disabled siblings who rely on you. If anyone counts on your income to make ends meet, you almost certainly need some form of life insurance.
You own a business.
In most cases, the financial institution that issues your business loan will require you to have life insurance. That’s to ensure they get their money back if you die before the loan is paid off.
Life insurance is also needed when you have a business partner. Your death will probably leave the business in a lurch. Fortunately, there’s special insurance known as “key person” insurance that can help keep the business afloat in the event of your untimely passing.
You want to pay for final expenses.
Did you know that a funeral can easily cost more than $10,000?
A potential five-figure price tag for a proper burial is a big reason why single people need life insurance. Without it, your friends and family will be on the line to cover those costs.
You want to grow your wealth.
Life insurance isn’t just there to take care of things if you’re not around. It can also benefit you while you’re living if you have permanent life insurance.
Permanent life insurance gives you a death benefit while also accumulating cash value on a tax-deferred basis. You can use that accumulated cash to increase your personal wealth or to buy a home, supplement your retirement income, cover an emergency expense and more.
You want to lock in coverage while you’re young and healthy.
Your health affects whether you get life insurance and how much you pay for it. Generally speaking, younger people in better health have an easier time getting life insurance. They also usually pay less for it.
For these reasons, it’s often a good idea to lock in coverage at an affordable rate when you’re young and healthy. If you wait until you develop a health condition, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to get life insurance coverage. This can be tough news to swallow if you have a partner or children depending on you by that time.
You want to leave a legacy.
Leaving money to a beloved school, religious organization, charity or person is another reason why single people need life insurance. Some or all of the policy’s proceeds could help further a mission near and dear to your heart. It could also help someone realize their dreams if you choose to give the money to someone you care about.
These scenarios show why single people need life insurance. If any of these resonate with you, show yourself some love by reaching out to Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency in Northbrook, Illinois to get started on your life insurance policy. You can reach us by phone at (847) 480-0800 or visit our website at https://www.basslerins.com/. Source: Amanda Austin | https://lifehappens.org/blog/why-single-people-need-life-insurance/
From an insurance buyer’s perspective, it can sometimes feel as if premium prices change on a whim. But the truth is that the insurance market is cyclical in nature, fluctuating between soft and hard markets:
- Soft markets—A soft market, which is sometimes called a buyer’s market, is characterized by stable premiums, broader terms of coverage, increased capacity, higher available limits and competition among insurance carriers for new business.
- Hard markets—A hard market, which is sometimes called a seller’s market, is characterized by increased premiums, diminished underwriting appetite and capacity, restricted coverage and less competition among insurance carriers for new business.
While many insurance buyers have enjoyed a soft market for years, the market is hardening. As a result, business leaders now face tough choices regarding their insurance, making it all the more important for them to understand what to expect in a hardening market and how to respond effectively.
Factors Contributing to a Hardening Market
In what was one of the longest soft markets in recent years, businesses across several lines of insurance enjoyed stable premiums and expanded coverage for decades. However, after years of gradual changes, the market is firming, leading to increased premiums and reduced capacity.
A number of different factors affect insurance pricing, but the following are common contributors to the hardening market:
- Catastrophic losses—Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and similar disasters are increasingly common and devastating. Years of costly disasters like these have compounded losses for insurers, driving up the cost of coverage overall.
- Claims costs—Claims are increasing in both frequency and severity year over year. One reason for this is that settlement verdicts for bodily injury claims are steadily rising. Attorneys are more inclined to take claims to trial. This extends litigation and significantly raises the cost to defend a claim. Additionally, advances in health care have made treatment more effective, and people are living longer, fuller lives even after a serious accident. While this is a positive trend, it has had an impact on compensatory damages and benefits.
- Underwriting standards—Insurers are struggling to overcome underwriting losses, especially given how low interest rates have remained in recent times. This has made carriers more cautious, and many are restricting the classes of businesses and lines of insurance they are willing to underwrite.
- Investment returns—Nearly every insurance carrier uses the funds it receives from premiums to invest in other markets. However, reduced interest rates have negatively impacted profitability, and carriers have a reduced their appetite for risk as a result.
- Reinsurance—Reinsurance is coverage for insurance companies. Carriers often buy reinsurance for risks they can’t or don’t wish to retain fully. However, reinsurance is becoming more expensive to obtain, which is causing carriers to increase their rates.
What to Expect During a Hard Market and How to Respond
Even the most prepared organizations will have to adapt to the hard market, and businesses can expect to face:
- Higher premiums
- Increased scrutiny when it comes to underwriting (e.g., underwriters asking for more information regarding a business’s risk and characteristics)
- Coverage restrictions (e.g., increased retentions) or exclusions
- Conditional or nonrenewal notices
Put simply, during a hard market, insurance buyers may face difficult decisions regarding their insurance coverage. Thankfully, however, businesses are not without recourse in the face of a hard market. The following are some strategies to consider to help navigate shifts in the market:
- Review your insurance program. Above all, check that your policies account for your business’s greatest exposures. An understanding of your coverage ensures you’re not overlooking any exclusions and will help you secure the right policy for your operations. During a hardening market, it may be necessary to make adjustments to your policies. However, those adjustments shouldn’t come at the expense of the coverage you need.
- Bolster your risk management efforts where possible. Doing so makes your business more attractive to insurers. Your broker can also help you review existing policies and procedures, and make suggestions on ways to secure favorable quotes.
- Know your loss history. In a hard market, underwriters will be especially critical when reviewing loss trends. Be prepared to explain the factors contributing to a specific loss and the steps you’ve taken to mitigate future losses.
- Budget wisely and plan ahead. In some cases, premium increases are unavoidable, and organizations should be prepared. Businesses should budget accordingly and take insurance costs into account alongside their other normal expenses.
- Work with the right insurance broker. During a hard insurance market, it’s vital to have a competent insurance professional advising your business. Be sure to partner with a broker that has strong carrier relationships and knowledge of your industry.
- Communicate with your broker early and often to determine how the hard market will affect your business. Starting the renewal process early can give your broker more time to secure the best coverage for your business.
Business owners who proactively address risk, control losses and manage exposures will be better prepared for a hardening market than those who do not. Work with your broker now to prepare your business for changes down the road. Contact Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency in Northbrook, Illinois today to get started. You can reach us by phone at (847) 480-0800 or visit our website at https://www.basslerins.com/. Source: www.zywave.com
What is construction insurance?
There are many types of construction insurances (also known as contractors insurance) intended to protect a property developer and other stakeholders throughout the stages of a construction project.
Contractors insurance, which is basically insurance for a construction project, is a wide classification of coverage that relates to the erection of buildings, roads, bridges or any other types of structures.
The following is a list of the most common types of contractors insurance and how they protect those involved in the stages of construction.
Builder’s Risk Insurance
Builder’s risk insurance (all risk insurance) is coverage for buildings and other structures during construction.
This policy should be prioritized even where policies such as commercial property insurance and homeowner’s insurance have been purchased, since the policies do not cover structures under construction.
Builder’s risk insurance covers residential new construction and remodeling projects, commercial property construction, building materials, foundations, scaffolding, fencing, paving, outdoor fixtures, and lawns fitted by the contractor.
In most cases, all risk insurance covers damages caused by fire, vandalism, and weather, although some construction insurance companies can offer special coverage for unique projects.
Construction (contract) bonds are intended to guarantee that a project will be completed if accepted, and if failed an entity will be made to pay for the damage.
There are several types of construction bonds, including:
⦁ Bid bonds – which guarantee that bid proposals are serious and that the bidder is capable of undertaking the project.
⦁ Payment bonds – which assure that the builder can provide payments to suppliers, subcontractors, and site workers.
⦁ Supply bonds – which guarantee that suppliers will deliver building materials and other supplies as per the contract.
⦁ Performance bonds – which compel the contractor to follow the quality guidelines set out in the project’s contract.
⦁ Maintenance (warranty) bonds – which protect the project owner from poor workmanship for a period of time after the work is done.
Contractor license bonds
This is an agreement – similar to construction insurance policies – which assures that a contractor will obey the rules that pertain to their contractor license.
It is designed to protect members of the public and the people who will work or do business with the contractor.
Contractor license bonds are offered by insurance companies and the cost usually varies depending on the contractor’s historical track-record of income and credit score. The better the track-record the cheaper the bond.
This type of construction insurance is designed to protect businesses and contractors from any liability in the event their worker is injured while on duty.
It covers medical expenses as a result of a covered incident, ongoing recovery expenses related to an injury, missed wages, legal fees if the policy holder is taken to court, as well as funeral costs and death benefits.
General liability insurance
Also known as commercial general liability insurance, this type of insurance for construction offers a liability protection to businesses in the event of property damage or bodily harm in the course of business.
General liability insurance policies for construction companies usually cover damages relating to defective workmanship, work-related injuries, and defamation.
Like in other types of construction insurances, general liability insurance outlines certain exclusions to protect insurers from having to cover certain risks.
Construction equipment insurance
⦁ Computers and data – desktops, laptops, tablets, and project data.
⦁ Owner’s equipment – forklifts, cranes, loaders, excavators, etc.
⦁ Contractor’s tools and equipment – generators, drills, hammers, saws, etc.
⦁ Leased equipment – leased equipment and tools.
This policy typically covers items at either replacement cost or at the fair market value of the stolen or damaged items.
Coverage of this nature includes equipment stolen from a construction site as well as those damaged in a fire or natural disaster at a jobsite.
Professional liability insurance
Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, this type of coverage offers protection for a business against claims resulting from errors and mistakes that occur during normal business operations.
A good example of E&O coverage is the case of an engineer who miscalculates the structural requirements of a house – causing the owner to make expensive repairs.
The homeowner may sue the engineer for damages caused by his mistakes. In this case, the E&O policy in the engineer’s insurance policy might cover the claim.
However, unlike other policies that cover property damage or bodily injuries suffered in the line of duty, E&O policies only cover financial losses.
If you have any questions regarding contractors insurance or need any additional information, contact Bassler & Co. Insurance Agency in Northbrook, Illinois. We are an independent insurance agency, which means we work for our customers not the insurance carrier! We can shop around to find you the contractors insurance coverage you need at a price you can afford. You can reach us by phone at (847) 480-0800 or online at https://www.basslerins.com/.